Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Hamid Rasaei (21)


Iran Analysis: Rafsanjani Strikes Back (and Why the Supreme Leader is Allowing It)

So is this the re-emergence of Rafsanjani as a leading political force? Not quite.

For four years --- ever since Hashemi Rafsanjani gave his last Tehran Friday Prayer in July 2009, in which he questioned the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's re-election and challenged the Supreme Leader by calling for the release of political prisoners --- Ayatollah Khamenei has been balancing his former and current Presidents.

And he is not going to stop now.

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The Latest from Iran (22 December): "We Are Not Isolated. You Are Isolated"

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Sanctions, Awards for Political Prisoners, and the Supreme Leader on Facebook
The Latest from Iran (21 December): Is the Regime Celebrating Its Longest Night?

2140 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. An EA correspondent summarises the President's performance on national TV tonight:

Subsidy cuts have been successful...Inflation is a structural matter, has existed for past 40 to 50 years....Bank debts were increased and fixed without the Government's assent....Problems are because of domestic abuse (Revolutionary Guards, Parliament, Supreme Leader's gang, clerics --- everyone except me).

2032 GMT: Ahmadinejad Irony Watch. The President declared in his TV interview tonight, "The will of people should be respected in elections --- it will have international ramifications."

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The Latest from Iran (21 December): Is the Regime Celebrating Its Longest Night?

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Sanctions, Awards for Political Prisoners, and the Supreme Leader on Facebook
Iran Propaganda 101: Mass Killing of Children in Connecticut --- The Jews Did It
The Latest from Iran (20 December): Revolutionary Guards Decide Which Reformists Can Stand in Presidential Election

A Table for Yalda Celebrations1720 GMT: Irony Watch. Well, here is one advocate for free speech who is not in detention in Iran....

Political analyst Mohsen Saleh seizes the moment after Spain’s satellite provider Hispasat took Iranian State outlets Press TV and Spanish-language Hispan TV off the air. He tells Press TV: "[This] contradicts the basic law of...freedom of speech of any party or any people from all over the world. That is why…the Iranian channels could sue the Americans and the Europeans even according to their law."

Saleh continued with the claim that it is the West who are scared of a free press, “When Press TV covers the 99-percent protests in New York and in other places…the Americans and the capitalists, the materialists, do not like to see such cover and they do not like to see others’ opinions in terms of these issues."

Saleh concluded, “I guess the Europeans and the Americans will finally find themselves really isolated from the whole world."

And who is responsible for the sudden ban of the Iranian channels? "Analyst" Stephen Landman knows: "The usual Israeli suspects."

See also Iran Propaganda 101: Mass Killing of Children in Connecticut --- The Jews Did It

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The Latest from Iran (20 December): Revolutionary Guards Decide Which Reformists Can Stand in Presidential Election

See also Iran Feature: Breakthrough in Nuclear Talks? No Way.
The Latest from Iran (19 December): "The Worst Economic Conditions"

2110 GMT: Human Rights Watch. The United Nations General Assembly has criticised Iran for human rights abuses by an 86-32 vote with 65 abstentions.

The resolution on Iran voiced "deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran relating to, inter alia, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations".

1840 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Iranian State media continues to play up renewed discussions, headlining, "Russia Hopes Iran-P5+1 Talks to Be Held Next Month".

The website seizes on a matter-of-fact statement by a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, "Currently negotiations are under way with Tehran on the place and date. We hope that this work will be completed in the near future and such a meeting will take place in January of next year."

Press TV repeats the mantra:

Iran claims that as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is free to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes but the United States, Israel and others have accused Iran of developing nuclear equipment for military purposes.

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The Latest from Iran (26 September): Denials, "Fake Allegations", and Ahmadinejad's Speech

See also Our 1st EA Video Analysis: The Sound, Fury, and Insignificance of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran Opinion: Ahmadinejad 100, US Media 0
Iran Audio Feature: Predicting Ahmadinejad's Speech (and Does It Really Matter?) --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
The Latest from Iran (25 September): Which is More Important --- The Ahmadinejad Show or an Economy in Crisis?

1915 GMT: Press Watch. Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance has warned that he may ban the reformist newspaper Shargh because of an insulting cartoon during the "Week of Holy Defence", marking the 32nd anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq War.

The Minister said that Shargh, whose editor was summoned for an explanation, was propagating "Western culture".

Fars reported that 120 of Iran's 290 MPs have signed a letter condemning the cartoon.

1855 GMT: Tough Tslk Alert (Syria Edition). President Ahmadinejad might have taken a cautious line on Syria during his stay in New York this week, but others have not been so reticent. While 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi was declaring, "Syria Will Eventually Conquer Enemies", MP Hamid Rasaei asserted that the remarks of Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Reza Jafari --- confirming that members of the Quds Force were in Damascus advising the Assad regime --- were those of the Supreme Leader. Rasaei continued, "We intervened in the 33 Days War in Lebanon (with Israel in 2006)."

Rejecting rumours that Iran might press President Assad to step down, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, “Today Syria’s presence in the [anti-Israeli] resistance front is stronger than ever."

All of this provides a counter-point to the line, put out by Press TV today, that "Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has called for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, saying Tehran supports dialogue between Damascus and the Syrian opposition.

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Iran 1st-Hand: Reports from a Controlled Election (Secor)

Sweeping Up Campaign Flyers, 25 FebruaryIran, vast and restive, had a way of revealing itself, even in bad times. The Green Movement had been forced underground, but it remained a preoccupation, even among hard-liners. One day, my handlers directed me to a campaign event: a debate among conservative parliamentary candidates at Tehran University, organized by the Basij. The room was filled, and my translator and I stood in the back.

A brave soul approached the microphone and inquired, in Farsi, “If we object to the policies of the nezam, what recourse do we have?” In Iran, the word nezam — “the system” — refers to the country’s unusual political structure, which combines a theocracy, ruled by a Supreme Leader and his executors, and a republic, with elected officials and public debates.

One of the panelists, Hamid Rasai, a white-turbaned cleric in an olive-green robe, replied, “Most people don’t think like you. Most people are from the Basij. You who complain are in the minority.”

The crowd roared with applause. Rasai represented the Steadfastness Front, an arch-conservative group of parliamentary candidates associated with a cleric, in Qom, who had once remarked that anyone offering a new interpretation of Islam should be punched in the mouth.

Rasai’s dismissive remark was the reverse of a claim that I had often heard from Iranian reformists: that only a fifth of the populace supported the Basij and that most Iranians were reformists or liberal-minded. Neither appraisal was verifiable in a country without reliable polling. But their concurrence conveyed a different kind of truth. Iranian society had become not just divided but adversarial, with entire communities denying one another’s existence.

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Iran Feature: The Battle to Become Speaker of Parliament

Larijani (left) and Haddad Adel (right)The political outcome of the Parliamentary elections may be a "mish-mash", with the Supreme Leader as the likely victor in his ability to control the legislature as well as the President, but the first battle of the new Majlis is shaping up --- and it's not directly about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Current Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, despite his allegiance to Ayatollah Khamenei, faces a serious challenge for his position. Unsurprisingly, his challenges to the Government have aroused the animosity of Ahmadinejad supporters, and he now has to contend with the alternative of Gholam Ali Haddad Adel --- former Speaker of Parliament, officially the top vote-getter in Tehran's Parliamentary ballot, and a member of the Supreme Leader's inner circle (his daughter is married to Khamenei's son Mojtaba).

An Iranian correspondent for EA surveys the situation....

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Iran Snap Analysis: Some People Were Selected for the Parliament --- Does It Matter?

There is an important conclusion to be drawn from Friday's outcome, but it is only a reiteration of what we noted after the first round two months ago, not in the overwhelming victory of a faction, but in the lack of one: "While the Islamic Republic's system is far too complex to reduce it to the plaything of the Supreme Leader, "stability" --- if not legitimacy --- lay in an arrangement in which he and his circle could be assured that they would not face trouble from a President, Parliament, or judiciary."

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The Latest from Iran (5 May): The Threat of Inflation

See also Iran Special: Photoshop Propaganda With Lots of Missiles (and Jar Jar Binks!)
The Latest from Iran (4 May): Election Day Again

2045 GMT: The Revolutionary Guards Intervene. Forget the election --- this may be the most significant news of the day....

General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, has criticised the Government for not being able to meet the Supreme leader's expectations, saying, "We are hoping to take effective steps toward this goal."

Addressing students at Imam Hussain University, which is overseen by the Guards, he declared, "Whether we want it or not, we have become a model in the world and the people of countries which are facing reforms and changes are looking at us to give them examples to follow."

2035 GMT: Economy Watch. Economist Hussain Raghfar has said that Iranians cannot believe official statistics, having lost trust in Government and the Central Bank. Instead, they "search within their families and friends to find the true inflation and unemployment rate. They look at the number of young people in their families who are working and the everyday prices of necessary goods such as food and vegetables."

Raghfar blamed Government policies for economic problems, "For the past 24 month there have been no policies on controlling inflation." He predicted that, if the second phase of subsidy cuts is implemented, the inflation rate will surge past 100%.

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The Latest from Iran (16 March): The Oil Squeeze

See also Iran Video Interview: Leading Official Larijani on the Nuclear "Grand Bargain"
The Latest from Iran (15 March): OK, Folks, Show's Over....

2109 GMT: The Battle Within. According to Serat News, the battle over the next Speaker of Parliament has started --- Hamid Rasaei of the Islamic Constancy Front said an effort will be made to force out Ali Larijani as the head of the Majlis.

2100 GMT: Political Personality Watch. It looks like Ali Motahari, the conservative MP who has led criticism of the President, has gotten a boost in recognition from the campaign --- he is second in voting amongst Khabar Online readers for Personality of the Iranian Year.

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